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Do you agree that Martin Luther King was the most important factor in helping blacks gain more civil rights in the 1960's?

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History Coursework Do you agree that Martin Luther King was the most important factor in helping blacks gain more civil rights in the 1960's? Explain your answer. In the 1950's an organised civil rights movement was born. It aimed to win voting rights for all black people and to put segregation to an end in all aspects of life. Martin Luther King (MLK) was a major leader and inspiration to many blacks within this and was seen as the most important factor by many in helping blacks gain more civil rights, however some believe other events and leaders were more important. Although blacks had been fighting for civil rights for many years, the civil rights movement really got started and became more apparent in 1955 when a respectable black woman called Rosa Parks who had been the secretary to the president of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People), was arrested in Montgomery for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a bus, which was the expected thing for blacks to do whenever a bus was full. ...read more.


By the 1960's the majority of households owned a TV or radio and they were the main form of entertainment at night times for families. This allowed all people to see his thoughts on segregation and discrimination and they could see how blacks should be treated equally and therefore gained more support for the movement. MLK could show how he was a well educated, smart and respectable man to stop people believing the stereotypical view of blacks which was that they were not educated, rough and not to be trusted. However there were many other factors which helped for blacks to gain more civil rights in America in the 1960's. One of these is because of the presidents at the time of the civil rights movement, President John F. Kennedy, who was keen for a new civil rights act. The Civil Rights bill was brought before Congress in 1963 and in a speech on television, Kennedy pointed out that blacks had half as much chance of completing high school and college than whites, twice as much chance of becoming unemployed, more chance of earning less and living 7 years shorter. ...read more.


Groups like the NAACP were very important as they brought together many people who fought as a team for what they believed in, which had far more effect than a single person's effort. I think that overall the civil rights movement was a huge success for blacks gaining more civil rights, as segregation was banned in all aspects of American life and blacks were given the right to vote which meant they could have an impact on who ran the country they lived in. Even though there were many other leaders and groups which with no doubt added to the success of gaining more civil rights, MLK was backing up these people, for example he worked closely with John F. Kennedy in trying to get the civil rights act passed, and was the main organiser of the March on Washington to promote this. MLK was an inspirational man to all black Americans, and brought together and encouraged more people to join the movements, which meant a stronger protest. If he had not encouraged non-violence and blacks had physically fought back to whites the movement may not have been successful as they would not have gained respect from onlookers. ...read more.

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